On my travels I’ve seen museums dealing with everything from sex to lawnmowers, but until now I’ve never come across one devoted to the French fry or, as we say in the UK, the chip.
Yes, it’s here – and where better to house it than in Belgium, where its fries are already world-renowned?
The Frietmuseum (www.frietmuseum.be), in the beautiful city of Bruges, was founded by Eddy Van Belle, who has already set up museums devoted to lamps (he collected 6,500 of them) and chocolate. He said that when he Googled ‘chip museum,’ he couldn’t find one anywhere, so he did what any of us would have done – he started his own.
In words, pictures, film and potatoes, the Frietmuseum tells the history of the French fry. The legend has it that in the 1700s, Belgians would catch small fish, fry them and eat them whole. During severe winters, however, the rivers froze, so they fried fish-shaped potato pieces instead. The French might contest this version of events, but it sounds convincing.
The museum also offers advice on creating the perfect chip and the Belgians, it has to be said, are rather good at it. Travel writer Patrick Barkham says: “In size, Belgian fries are halfway between chunky British chips and spindly American/French fries. And they taste even better with local moules and washed down with Bruges Zot, the city’s latest award-winning beer.”
by Andy Moreton
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